Instant Analysis: Florida comes up short

Florida 31 - No. 11 Missouri 33

by Joseph Torviso
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Still in search of that elusive sixth win for bowl eligibility, Florida traveled to face No. 11 Missouri on Saturday night hoping to make a statement. Though an expected blowout came down to the wire, Florida’s defense fell short at the end and the Gators came out on the wrong end of a 33-31 score.

Inside the Gators’ Instant Analysis takes a quick look at how the game unfolded.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: Missouri converted a 4th and 17 on their own 33-yard line. After a couple of inspired plays from the Gators, Missouri found themselves facing a 4th and 17 on their own half of the field. Brady Cook found an uncovered Luther Burden for a 27-yard, momentum-changing completion. The Tigers then proceeded to march all the way down to the Florida 13 where Harrison Mevis, the Thicker Kicker, knocked down a 30-yard field goal for the win.

THEY STOLE THE SHOW: Florida backup quarterback Max Brown entered the game, and at that point nobody gave him or the Gators a chance. However, Brown’s versatility confounded the Missouri offense. His 27-yard completion to Kahleil Jackson followed by a 12-yard run two plays later put the Gators in a fantastic position to score their fourth touchdown of the night. He breathed new life into the Gator offense and kept fans on their feet. Tonight was a great performance from a backup quarterback in a tough matchup.

THESE STATS DON’T LIE: The Gator offense committed nine penalties for 47 yards. Yellow flags have been drive-killers for Florida all season. After the Gators’ first drive, the following two ended in punts from the Florida 15 and 13 respectively. Penalties killed these drives allowing Missouri to get a touchdown and re-take the lead.

THIS MATCHUP PROVED KEY: The Missouri secondary kept Eugene “Tre” Wilson quiet. Wilson had a touchdown on the Gators’ first drive, but only 10 yards on six receptions in the first half. After allowing a big play early, the Tigers’ secondary stopped him from yards after the catch opportunities. Since the Vanderbilt game, Wilson has been an important piece of this Florida offense. The Tiger defense did great keeping him quiet tonight.

WHAT A PLAY: On 1st and 20 on the Missouri 37, Graham Mertz was forced out of the pocket. As he rolls out to his right, he keeps his eyes on Trevor Etienne the whole time. The Tiger’s linebacker pressured Mertz leaving Etienne wide open resulting in the sophomore taking off down the sideline for a 37-yard touchdown. It gave the Gators a one-point lead in the third quarter.

UP NEXT: The (5-6) Gators wrap up regular season play next Saturday as they host the No. 4 Florida State Seminoles at home for Senior Night. It will be the last chance Florida has to become bowl-eligible. With Jordan Travis out and Mertz leaving the game early with a shoulder injury, who knows who will be lining up under center in the Swamp?

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